01/07/2009 12:00AM

Bonde brings 15 from California to Oaklawn


Sierra Sunset, who has not raced since winning the Grade 2, $300,000 Rebel Stakes last March at Oaklawn Park, is part of a 15-horse string Northern California-based trainer Jeff Bonde began shipping to Oaklawn on Wednesday. It will be the first division of horses Bonde has ever had at the Hot Springs, Ark., track, which opens its meet on Jan. 16.

Sierra Sunset ran a breakthrough race in the Rebel, when he stormed to a three-length win and earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 99. The performance put him on the Kentucky Derby trail, but shortly after the race he was found to have a small fracture line in his left front ankle. Bonde said the horse was given an extended period of time off and is now about 45 days from a race. He said Sierra Sunset, who also was second in last year's Grade 3, $250,000 Southwest at Oaklawn, is a candidate for the stakes program in Hot Springs.

"We're there to try to get some more money," he said.

Bonde also plans to send the promising 3-year-old Frumious to Oaklawn. He said the horse is to make his next start in a stakes at either Santa Anita or Golden Gate, and is then scheduled to be flown to Hot Springs. Frumious last raced on Dec. 20, dueling for much of the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park before finishing ninth, seven lengths behind winner Pioneerof the Nile. Frumious had won three straight races prior to the CashCall Futurity. On Jan. 3 he worked a bullet five furlongs in 58.40 seconds at Hollywood Park.

Bonde, who has shipped horses in for stakes at Oaklawn, said Gerry DiLaura, a childhood friend and the agent for jockey Luis Quinonez, talked to him about bringing a division to Hot Springs.

"He's been after me for years," Bonde said.

Bonde said Pat Pope, the racing secretary at Oaklawn, also encouraged him to come to Oaklawn.

Bonde will continue to have a stable of horses in Northern California, where he has long ranked among the circuit's top trainers. Other new faces expected for the Oaklawn meet include trainers Bret Calhoun and Frank Kirby, and jockeys Jon Court and Deshawn Parker, a Mountaineer-based rider who ranked second in wins last year in North America.

Kansas series moves to Will Rogers

Will Rogers Downs in Claremore, Okla., is the new home of the Kansas Jackpot Futurity, a Grade 2 race for Quarter Horses, following the closure of the Woodlands in Kansas City last August. The 300-yard race will be run on April 18 as part of a 15-race stakes schedule for Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses at Will Rogers. The track, which has electronic gaming, opens on Feb. 28. It will run a 44-date mixed meet through May 23.

There will be four stakes for Thoroughbreds. The $50,000 Wilma Mankiller for fillies and mares at six furlongs and the $50,000 Route 66 for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs will both be run May 2. Oklahoma-breds will be featured on May 23. The $50,000 Cherokee Casino Classics Stakes is for statebred fillies and mares at six furlongs, while the $50,000 Oklahoma Thoroughbred Association Classic is for statebreds 3-year-olds and up, at six furlongs. The races will be part of a four-stakes closing day card.

Purses for the meet are budgeted at $189,000 a day, with $150,000 a day for races for Thoroughbreds. The structure represents a 12 percent increase over last year, said Kelly Cathey, track operations manager for Will Rogers.

* There are 75 horses cataloged to the annual Stemmans Inc. winter mixed sale on Sunday at Traders Rest Farm in Scott, La. The auction includes yearlings, 2-year-olds, horses of racing age, and broodmares. Also, there will be a stallion show put on by Traders Rest.